The Estonian Song Festival (Laulupidu) is an event which takes place every five years in their capital Tallinn.Also every five years there is the national youth and dance festival which we attended at the end of our stay.
The Estonians claim to hold world’s biggest choir during this event. At the Youth festival it has been around 13000 singers performing together at the stage and for the main Laulupidu it is more than 25 000.
In the morning all choirs start gathering for a big parade in Freedom Square in the city centre. Together they make their way through the old town and down a wide road towards the festival grounds, about 5 kilometres away.
Then in the afternoon the concert takes place.
Many different choirs from all over Estonia and very few foreign choirs which have been invited to take part performed solely estonaian songs on stage.
It was a joyful and colourful view into the crowd as most singers were wearing traditional costumes from every part of the country. and the blue, black and white Estonian flag was waving everywhere around us.
Singing itself has always been a major unifying force for Estonians while they endured fifty years of Soviet rule. Singing Festivals are since ever a the most important Cultural event in this country. The Songs which have been carried on from generation to generation talk about national identity tradition and self-determination.
“Mu isamaa on minu arm” (“Land of My Fathers, Land That I Love”) a song that was sung repeatedly in the face of authorities during occupation times. This step-by-step process that led to the reestablishment of Estonian independence in 1991 is today called The Singing Revolution.
Who can silence hundred thousand of voices standing together for their country?
It has been a very touching experience for us to take part in an event that means so much to the people here and to feel their strength in community and their proud for their country and culture.